Friday night! Quinoa salad (made by me, see recipe below) and Pizza made by Em and Liz. Yum! Prosciutto, soft cheese, hard cheese, pear and a bit of parmesan on a pizza base. My quinoa salad which was inspired by one of my brother’s recipes, is a winner. It is a little bit time consuming, but it is well worth the effort. Zingy, fresh and summery it’s great with not only Liz and Em’s famous pear and prosciutto pizza but also fish, a nice steak or seafood.
I have been doing a little bit of research into Quinoa. Having always been a cous cous fan as it literally cooks in 2 minutes in boiled water – Quinoa may take a little longer to cook but it’s packed full of nutrients and it’s nutty flavour and grainy texture is hard to beat.
For all you Quinoa nerds out there 2013 is actually International Year of Quinoa as declared by the United Nations. Quinoa is a seed (vegetable) not a grain but it is usually eaten as a grain. It has been cultivated for over several thousand years. Mainly grown in the Andean countries, quinoa is a staple food of ancient civilisations of the Andes of Southern America.
Quinoa is in fashion at the moment for a reason. It actually has many fantastic qualities which make it invaluable emerging crop. High in protein, low in cholesterol and sodium it is gluten-free, contains essential amino acids and is rich in minerals. Aside from it’s amazing nutritional qualities quinoa is adaptable to a large range of climatic conditions, it is hardy, drought tolerant and resistant to salinity. It also has very low production costs. Super environmentally friendly, quinoa crops have a low environmental impact, contributes to biodiversity and protecting the ecosystem.
In the Andes production remains family based and mostly organic. Production has increased the income of lower income farmers in the semi-arid Andes Highlands. Especially in the last three years as the popularity of Quinoa has soared.
Not only do producers in the Andes win from this surge in popularity but quinoa crops have the potential to aid in the world’s food shortage as it can be grown in difficult conditions. This combined with low production cost make quinoa a crop of the future.
Quinoa, Bean, Corn and Lemon Salad Recipe
2 cups of red quinoa
4 cups of water
2 chicken stock cubes
3 corn on the cobs, boiled and cut from cob (should produce three handfuls of corn)
1 large bunch of spring onions finely chopped
1 red onion finely chopped
1 large bunch of continental parsley, chopped roughly
Handful of green beans cut into 3-4cm lengths
2 large lemons
3 Tbl of extra virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
There is a bit on an art to cooking quinoa. The first tip is to wash it thoroughly under cold water several times. This washes some of the bitterness out of the seeds. When cooking red quinoa, you cook one part quinoa to two cups of water as a general rule. For this recipe you will need two cups of quinoa. After washing the quinoa thoroughly place four cups of water in a pot with the intention of bringing the water and 2 cups of red quinoa to the boil. At this point add the two chicken stock cubes (this really adds punch to the quinoa seeds). Once the quinoa and water mixture boils turn down the heat to a gentle simmer and cover for around 15 minutes. Any excess water is drained.
Once the quinoa is cooked or if you like to multitask whilst the quinoa is cooking chop the spring onions, red onion, continental parsley and the green beans into lengths. Next bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the corn on the cob (cut into halves) for 2-3 minutes. Using the same pot of water cook the handful of beans next for 1-3 minutes.
Let all cooked ingredients cool before combining and tossing ingredients in a large open dish or salad bowl.
The dressing is really simple. Add the oil and juice of two lemons in a glass jar with a lid. Add salt and pepper to taste. Put the lid on the jar and shake thoroughly. Drizzle over salad. Voila! Salad is ready!